Monday, July 25, 2016



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….at the home of Manuela Goren, CTG board member, and her husband James…..….began with Amy and me driving to a spot nearby their residence to be greeted by members of the CTG staff and then taking one of the several shuttle vans of to our hosts location.

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The very special event was a 'Theatre Artists Dinner' to introduce Center Theatre Group supporters to Betty Buckley and Rachel York along with 'GRAY GARDENS THE MUSICAL’ Director, Michael Wilson and CTG Artistic Director Michael Ritchie. Here we go!IMG 4621

O.K. Peeps.  The following is for my foodie friends only!  

Thanks to amazing caterer Ray who you can reach at 818.966.0598, this was beyond delicious, yummy stuff wrapped in pastry….IMG 4626

Go ahead Amy…..IMG 4629

Oh my, this was by far the most delicious Smoked Salmon ever.  Moist and yummy with contrasting Creme Fresh and mystery ingredients….IMG 4643

Bravo to  Chef Ray for these Goat Cheese balls topped by sublime Fig Jam….IMG 4652

Time to sit down for dinner and of course I had to have everything…..sooo good!

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Always room for dessert and the fruit was a lovely, light touch…..

IMG 4673Kudos and special thanks to our generous and most gracious hosts Manuela and James…...IMG 4675

The ever beautiful Natalie from CTG….IMG 4648

It’s always fun to photograph the photographer.IMG 4644It’s a miracle Betty Buckley got to eat anything.  Just think, this was her only night off!IMG 4656

The always delightful Becky also on the CTG staff….IMG 4659

‘GRAY GARDENS THE MUSICAL’ Director Michael Wilson, stars Rachel York and Betty Buckley with moderator CTG Artistic Director Michael Ritchie. What a fun time listening to them...IMG 4671

Wishing you lovely evenings, delightful days  and for a special treat, don’t miss ‘GRAY GARDENS THE MUSICAL’ at the Music Center’s Ahmanson Theatre!!!

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Monday, July 18, 2016


…..has got to be one of my favorite things to do.  IMG 4430Perhaps it’s because all of the china is hand painted by my dear friend, beautiful Lissi Kaplan, with love and tender care.

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I always love describing the work of my amazingly gifted friend.IMG 4443

Adorable Patricia and I spent an enchanted afternoon until we realized the day had turned to dusk!

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Is there a puppy I can see without photographing? Here’s a stylish pooch who is enjoying his stay at the Peninsula.IMG 4452

 Awwww…..I so love Sweet Maria who visited the studio for lunch!

IMG 4474I had this Mozzarella Cheese with Tomatoes and Basil as an appetizer…..Good EVOO thanks to Miss Judith.  Sea salt and Balsamic Vinegar. Yummy!

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 Don’t miss ‘The Art of the Steal’ available on Netflix.  It’s a documentary about the city of Philadelphia and the Pew Foundation riding roughshod over the desires of Alfred E. Barnes who amassed one of the greatest post-impressionist collections in the country.

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 We studied Waterfalls in this months Landscape class in the studio.  Maria’s lovely flowers remain beautiful!

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I also tested two new ‘custom’ papers I ordered from China.IMG 4495

 Nikka posted the new Mood Seals onto  You can see them under ‘supplies’.

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 I was treated to lunch at Malbec by a friend with the L.A. Opera.This is Ahi Tuna although it looks like a slab of meat.  Amazingly delicious!

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 Is splitting this so very bad?

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Thank you L.A. Opera for this awesome CD!

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 Because I didn’t eat enough at lunch I met Nikka and mom at Cheesecake and polished  this off with a Mango Smoothie!

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 The Bamboo is planted but now the Deer Chaser needs to be re-connected.

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 The man in charge (Doing all the heavy duty digging and planting) was a fighter pilot!

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 Now that I’m in this domestic mode I’m delighted ‘Flipping Out’ is back!

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The lovely and most brilliant Lisa B. came over for a working lunch…..

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 Honest….we’re working!

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 As a matter of fact we worked so hard pizza from Pappa John’s had to be ordered!  (two of them!!!)

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Next day  Kita made new friends as she was waiting to see Dr. Aberman at VCA Animal Hospital (time for shots).

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This fellow was also waiting to see the vet but I suspect he had a case of hangover morning.

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 Meanwhile Nikka was in the studio with Tony Oliver and his wife Judy showing them how to manage the wonderful new website she created for Tony.  Check it out at 

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For Saturday’s class in the studio we painted Koi and Butterflies.  Mina brought her friend Marie from Washington.  We had so much fun I forgot to take a picture.  Imagine that!IMG 4548

 Our dear Ann was in town for just the weekend so we only had time for a short visit.  She loved the story behind this scroll commission.

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 Love you Ann!

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 I just had time to dash over to Americana to meet Sandie and Jim.  They were treating to “Finding Dora’.  How cute is that!

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 Along the way to dinner I had to stop for this awesome Long-haired Akita.

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 Wait up you two…..

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 Every restaurant we went to had a one hour wait for seating so back we went to Nordstrom’s Bar Verde.  They too were pretty busy but had mercy on starving us.  Thank you Sandie and Dr. Jim for the delightful treat!

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May your week be filled with happy times of friendship!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016


On July 4th, NASA’s Spacecraft JUNO completed it’s successful five year journey to Jupiter to begin it’s elliptical orbit peering deep inside this huge planet telling scientists about cosmic leftovers that coalesced into our solar system…searching for our beginnings.

Dr. Adriana Ocampo was in town from NASA headquarters in Washington where she oversees this massive project to be at JPL in Pasadena for the momentous day.  Now who better than Valerie Foster Hoffman to host a dinner party in Dr. Ocampo’s honor?  No one!

Carol and I arrived early….

IMG 4282Prince wanted in on the party….

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Just look at this beautiful table poolside….

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Chef Josie treated us royally…..
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 Just a little peek at her culinary skills….

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Adriana shows me a ‘selfie’ taken at JPL during the celebrating!IMG 4294

 How can someone be that brilliant, kind and loving?  There’s probably a ‘cosmic’ answer to that one.  Here I am happily in the middle with dear Carol to my left (your right).


Well from planetary stars to ballet stars...

Jim Reilly had gotten our Sandie Girl tickets to the American Ballet Theatre's performance of the Firebird at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion/Music Center for her birthday so I asked them to meet  Nikka, Amy and myself in the Founders Room during the intermissions so we could all celebrate.  I gave Jim and Sandie strict instructions not to dawdle getting there as the intermissions are always way too short.

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Awwwww…………I love you Sandie Girl!IMG 6446

Nikka, Dr. Jim, Sandie Girl, myself and Sweet Amy…...IMG 4394

 It was thrilling to see the incomparable Misty Copeland!

Dance 1516 abt firebird2May you have a thrilling week filled with dazzling beauty!


There is no avoiding the pull of the internet, the blogs, the YouTube imaginings. It's as if we're all 'On the Road' with Jack Kerouac each in our own world of meanderings. When we tell someone to 'get a life' it might be a bit difficult when you're dragged into other people's 24/7.

I've come to realize two foundational principals, there are no accidents and everyone has a purpose. More and more I'm desiring everyone to come into a full realization of their purpose as we all find our way on this little jewel of a planet.

For me, as a professional 'Western style artist', I stumbled into Chinese Brush Painting after a trip in 1980 to Monet's home/garden. Seeing all of his collection of Japanese woodblock prints was an ahh haa moment for me and when I returned to the States I started painting in the Chinese manner and never looked back. The first year was extremely painful for me as I felt that I should be able to master the technique since I was a 'trained' artist. Not a chance ... that just gets in your way.

Now, after teaching close to 3,000 students and having my book 'The Ch'i of the Brush' published by Watson Guptill, I can say that every one of my students does better their first day than I did my first year! Why? Because I insist that they leave their critical parent outside and just enjoy the journey, respecting the work that they do. I never let anyone throw anything away because that just ingrains frustration and defeat.

We really only begin to learn when we stop and figure out how to 'save' a painting. It works every time.I am so proud of my students, their receptivity and eagerness to express themselves is a continuing blessing for me.So, back to finding your purpose. Perhaps it starts with realizing 'it's not about me'. It so easy to want our needs met and to filter everything thru this attitude. When we realize that we're here to be of benefit to every life that we touch the universe really provides the ways and means.

The best part is that it's really exciting to not have yourself on your mind all the time!I'm re-reading a wonderful book about authenticity and in my next meandering I'll tell you about it. In the meantime I'd love to hear about your journey and am here to answer any and all questions about Chinese Brush Painting.